Rising teenage star Izzy Shelley is set on a lengthy hockey career after a breakthrough season with Holcombe.
Believed to be the youngest playing hockey at women’s national league level, Shelley made her debut for the Kent side in the 1s shortly after turning 15 last season.
She will be one of a number of teenagers playing in the Investec Premier Division this season. In recent years, Surbiton have handed several debuts to 15 and 16-year-olds – even at top European level – while Bowdon Hightown have seen several promising young stars make hay in the top flight.
In all, these young players are set to be involved in a season which looks wide open in terms of play-off spots and the eventual league champion. East Grinstead have have made several astute signings, H&W are set to make serious inroads in their first season, while Beeston have strengthened. Surbiton’s stranglehold on the title will be no easy task.
Shelley played the back end of the season after being a committed member of the 1s training through the season and made her European debut when Holcombe hosted the Euro Club Trophy.
“It was a rollercoaster, there were a few ups and downs but it has been the best,” Shelley said. “It’s what I always wanted to do and to do it one season aged just 15 was amazing.”
Shelley credited ladies coach Leigh Maasdorp for “giving me some of the best opportunities and I’m really looking forward to this season.”
She hopes to be part of a Holcombe squad which will be gunning for glory after losing the league play-offs and then the Euro Trophy final.
She added: “It was bitter sweet losing both finals but it sets us up and we know we don’t want to do that again. We’ve had that disappointment and we hope to come back harder and stronger and ready to smash it.
“It’s my life and I love it and I couldn’t think of playing anywhere else!”